A regular home internet user may not realize it, but current technology allows data to be transmitted much faster than it can be processed. Your home network connection sends data far slower than your desktop can handle it, but at the top end of the technology spectrum the bottleneck is processing, not data transmission. Fortunately, techniques for faster signal sampling are improving!

Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego have achieved world-record speeds for real-time signal processing in an effort to meet ambitious goals set by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop the first Terabit-scale technology for optical processing. The technology could have widespread ramifications for networking, computing, defense and other industries.

UC San Diego electrical and computer engineering professor Stojan Radic and his team have demonstrated the first real-time sampling of a 320 Gigabits per second (Gb/s) channel, setting multiple records in the process. ...

“For the first time we have been able to process signals as fast as 320 Gb/s by making more than eight copies of the signal and simultaneously sampling all the copies – thereby allowing us to do real-time processing,” said Radic, a professor in UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering. The aggregate speed was a record, as were the number of copies simultaneously sampled. The demonstration also registered a five-fold improvement in a published optical delay demonstration." ...

The goal of the four-year project is to reach one Terabit per second processing with a single technology platform,” said Radic. “A little over one year into the project, we have achieved one-third of that speed, which is about an order-of-magnitude faster than the advanced commercial optical transport at 40 Gb/s.”

Very cool. It will be years before this technology gets into your home, but just imagine downloading your entire harddrive in one second.... DVD and BluRay won't be able to compete in a world where that much data can be streamed to users so fast.

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